A Slab is Fab: Sour Cherry Slab Pie

I was finally able to buy my first fresh tart cherries of the season on the Fourth of July when I realized that the Tuesday afternoon farmer's market by our house was open on the holiday. I bought a lot of cherries and decided that a great way to put them to use would be a slab pie. I almost never make pie because pie crust is my Achilles' heel. I've got no problem making tarts, galettes, or freeform pies. But my traditional pies usually end up with a soggy bottom crust.

However, last summer I made a few single crust pies with Stella Parks' recipe for Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough. The results were uniformly outstanding; not only were all of my crusts extremely flaky, but the dough is super easy to handle and roll. I decided to give it a try with Sour Cherry Slab Pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

I made a double batch of pie crust instead of the 1.5 batches specified in the recipe, just to be on the safe side. I rolled out each batch of crust separately and used one to line a 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan. I put the lined pan and the other piece of rolled-out crust in refrigerator for a few hours. (Parks' recipe reverses the order of the typical pie crust-making method. Instead of making the dough, chilling, and then rolling, you make the dough, roll and line the pan, and then chill.) After the pastry was thoroughly chilled, I added the pie filling (pitted sour cherries, sugar, Instant ClearJel, lemon juice, and salt), and then added the top crust. I did have a lot of excess crust and instead of folding the top crust over the bottom crust, I ended up crimping the crusts together the way you would crimp a regular pie crust in a round pie pan. I pricked holes in the top crust, brushed it with egg wash, and put it in the oven to bake. Because the edge of the crust was extending over the side of the pan, I had to put the jelly roll pan on top of a larger half-sheet baking pan in order to get the pie in and out of the oven without smushing the crust.
I thought this was a great-looking pie and I skipped the glaze. Cherry juice had bubbled up in a couple of spots along the edges where I had been careless and torn the top crust, providing me with an easy way to tell when the filling inside was hot and sufficiently cooked. I had used Instant ClearJel instead of cornstarch just because I had some on hand (I used seven tablespoons) and I was very happy that when I cut the pie there was no cherry juices seeping out and each slice kept its shape beautifully. I was a little crestfallen when I saw that the bottom crust was undercooked. However, I realize that I had probably caused this problem by putting the jelly roll pan on top of another pan in the oven. If anything, I should have placed the jelly roll pan directly on the baking stone that lives in our oven -- I could have used a pizza peel. Sigh, live and learn. Still, the pie was delicious.
And as you can see in the photo above, the crust -- at least the top crust -- was very flaky. Despite the undercooked bottom crust, I was very happy with the way this pie turned out. I used more than a kilo of my precious tart cherry supply on this pie and it was definitely worth it.

Recipes: "Sour Cherry Slab Pie" from Smitten Kitchen; "Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough Recipe" by Stella Parks.

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Sally said…
I made this for the fourth of July - I couldn't find sour cherries so used less sugar. I *loved* this pie - one of the best things I've ever made. I didn't have problems with a soggy bottom layer, and did use the glaze, which I loved.
Louise said…
This looks delicious. I'll have to make it in a couple of months when local berries, etc. are no longer in season. I just froze more sour cherries.